Explore off the beaten track in Hue Vietnam
When most people touch down in Hue, visiting the Imperial City is the first thing on everybody’s mind. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, it was once the capital of Vietnam. During the Nguyen dynasty in the 19th century, Gia Long unified all the provinces of Vietnam. He decided to make Hue his home-base because the Perfume river snaked around him and Ngu Binh Mountain appeared like a lion in the horizon.
As time and the Vietnam War have weathered the city, only 20 of the 100+ original buildings remain intact. Nevertheless, the main Citadel has been immaculately maintained. In addition, the surrounding buildings in the outer sections of the city are slowly being restored to their past splendor. You could easily spend the whole day walking through the various offices, temples, and royal quarters.
Another picturesque temple nearby worth visiting is the Huyen Tran Princess Temple; but, unlike the Imperial City, there is plenty of shade walking up to this temple. As you climb the stone stairway to the top, there are pine trees on each side that form a canopy overhead. Enjoy the quiet peace away from the crowds of the more popular tourist attractions.
If you want to get away from the city center and take a break off the beaten track, we recommend Thuan An Beach. In the later morning, you can see fishermen docking their boats as they unload their morning catch off their boats. The beach has white sand that stretches for miles. Being 15km from the city center, it’s the perfect place to relax and take a dip in a warm-turquoise sea. For those of you who are early-birds, visiting the Thanh Toan Bridge is a great way to spend a leisure morning. The traditional bridge features a tiled-roof and is divided into seven sections: it was used as a community space by the village in the past. There is still an open market nearby if you get there before noon.
Bach Ma National Park is another option for adventurous travelers who want to see more of the Vietnamese outdoors. Setting off at the foot of the mountain, near the Cau Hai Lagoon, you can visit the nearby villages and learn about the lives of the local fishermen there. Afterwards, we recommend hiking on one of the many trails and enjoying the forest’s biodiversity: our groups usually push ahead to the summit, at 1450m above sea level, the panoramic views from the top are absolutely breathtaking. There’s also a tunnel that was dug through the mountain during the Vietnam War that was used to store bombs: it’s worth exploring if you want to go spelunking. The latter half of the day is usually reserved for cooling off and exploring around the five lakes in the park. Saving the best for last, the Do Quyen waterfall should not be missed. While making your way to the 300m waterfall, don’t forget to stay hydrated.
For more information on how to organize the best itinerary while in Hue, please contact our Khiri Travel team in Vietnam at [email protected]